Friday, December 30, 2011

New Lens!!!

**If you're not into cameras or photography please feel free to skip this post**

I've been involved in a research study for the past few months, and have managed to save up a bit for a new camera lens. I was still a hundred or so short of a new lens but it was a great start and I hoped to have enough in a few months. I guess it was fate because with a ton of luck, I found a brand new 35mm 1.8f camera lens (better than the one I had my eye on) for much less than retail on ebay - the price of which happened to be the exact amount that I had saved. Literally. Right down to the currency exchange.  AND it was in Canada, so I would receive it before New Years. Bonus.

Sorry, no pics of the lens itself. I just couldn't get it on my camera fast enough! These are the first few pics I took:



Just look at that beautifully blurred background (hiding the complete mess of my living room). And see how crisp they are? The best part- I didn't use the flash or have to brighten them with editing.

A few more, just because I can :)



Much better pics to come!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

After a really late night, we all slept in until about 9:30. Since the kids sleep downstairs (and we're upstairs) we pulled the couch in front of their door to delay them long enough for us to make it down the stairs. Plan Failed. Austin woke up first and quietly climbed over the couch. We didn't even hear him through the moniter until he exclaimed "Oh WOW! COOL!". Poor Cameron and Bryanna were pulled unwillingly from their beds to see their presents, and Brian and I rushed like fools to get some kind of video evidence. Sorry, no still pics to share this time :(

Everyone was thrilled with the gifts Santa left, he spoiled us once again. Later, Mom & Dad and Tim & Yuli came over for brunch and to see what the kids got from Santa. After a night of munching on appetizers and goodies we always look forward to eating a nice big bunch of "real food". We Brian spent the rest of the afternoon assembling Lego sets, and the kids played with their new toys. We went to Nanny's for a big turkey dinner (yummy, as always) then went back to my Mom & Dad's to exchange gifts there.

Of course, there were munchies here as well. Guess who kept sneaking to the candy....


Dan and Shay got each kid their own camping chair. Instead of wrapping them, they were set up around the room when we arrived so each kid had their own place to sit (& stay!) while we opened presents. Good idea guys!



Austin had to show off his new Star trooper helmet & gun. His rule: You MUST wear the helmet to shoot the gun!


Oh, Uncle Dan!


This year, we did a Secret Santa with the adults and also made gifts for each couple and man, were the creative juices flowing! Some of the favorites: My Mom made each family a couch blanket with our names stitched in it, and Michelle embroidered a family portrait of each family!


We were really excited about the shelves we made from scrap wood shipping pallets. They seemed to be a hit. Another fantastic gift? The puppet theater my Mom & Dad made for the kids (to keep at their house). Complete with cutout puppets of their favorite characters. Amazing.  

 I don't think Sawyer is using Belle as a baseball bat on Cameron's head, but I can't be positive.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve -

I remember Christmas Eve was always the longest day of the year when I was a kid. Each minute seemed to last an hour while I waited all day to go to church then Nanny and Pappy's to sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts. With this in mind, we made the decision last year to open our gifts on Christmas Eve morning. It worked out really well - making the day go by quicker and the kids are able to enjoy their gifts without the distraction of Santa's presents waiting to be played with.

This year we had to wait until Brian got home from work at 3:30, then we got busy opening gifts.


Hockey helmets!




Everyone played with their new gifts while we finished getting ready, then we were off to church then Nanny's - which is still my favorite part of the holidays.






Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Visit with Santa

Finally everyone was feeling well enough to venture out to see the big guy. Usually we get to see him at Brian's work party, but we couldn't make it this year so we had to brave the mall a few days before Christmas. The line was long, but an elf equipped the kids with pencils and paper to draw a picture for Santa. What a great idea to pass the time.



Santa took the time to have a nice visit with each kid, not rushing them off at all. He even looked at a book with Cameron, who was in complete awe of him. He had the cutest grin the whole time and kept stroking Santa's coat as though he thought he may not be real.


I swear, they were much happier than they appear in the picture!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Card Pics

All three kids have been feeling pretty under the weather for the last few days. With only a week until Christmas, and our Christmas card photos still unfinished, I seized the moment and dragged my pajama clad kiddos out into the cold. (Go ahead and nominate me for Bad Mother of the Year - I can take it) That's right folks, all three kids are sporting pjs under those stylish jackets. In fact, I don't think I even brushed the boys' hair!  

Just for the record, it was snowing. If you look really closely you can make out some tiny white spots. I didn't take the time to play around with my shutter speed enough to show it. Without further delay, this is the product of my 2 minute photo session:









Ummm....yeah, they've had enough.
Time to veg on the couch with our blankets. Again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dear Santa

Jolly old Saint Nicholas, 
Lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul
what I'm going to say:

Christmas Eve is coming soon;
now, you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me;
tell me if you can.

Bryanna want a princess doll,



Cameron wants a Buzz,


Austin wants a lego set,
Star Wars if you can.




Now I think I'll leave to you

what to give the rest
Choose for us, dear Santa Claus;
you will know the best.